Saturday, June 7, 2008

Final thoughts on Powershell (and the class)...

Well now that the class is well behind me and I have a weekend of completely NON-IT yard work ahead of me, I can give an honest opinion. The class was generally frustrating because I didn't know what to expect and it was based on the assumption that students had some form of programming experience to build on which I did not unfortunately.

Now that said... I am extremely impressed with Powershell! You can literally do anything you could do in the GUI at the command line (and more) either directly or from a script! I really don't intend to learn to script myself in powershell because I simply don't have the time to devote to a completely new direction in IT since there are so many network related areas I need to learn to do my new job, but I still plan on using it. There are already a ton of resources on the Net with thousands of prewritten scripts for administrators and I do understand the logic of most of the scripts I read... I simply wouldn't know where to begin to write one myself from scratch. Therefore I feel fairly confident that I could take any simple to moderately complex script and modify it to do what I need it to do. Powershell version 1 which was what the class was based on did not have a lot of active directory integration, but version 2 which is currently in beta, DOES!

An example of how I might use this script... We as of right now only have corporate users in our Windows Domain, but in the future all remote offices will likely be joining the domain... so we could at some point be adding hundreds of user accounts. I could do all of that manually in the gui OR I could gather the names of all the users in a comma delimited text file including their office number and maybe even whether they would belong in a user group or admin group... then find/write a script which would pull the data in from the file, create the user accounts and depending on office number, put the account in the proper OU in active directory, and depending on group information in the text file, put them in the appropriate user group. This would all run automagically from the script and the work involved would be merely modifying the script and giving remote offices the format I need their users list in, which I would just copy/paste into my comma delimited file. Then if it didn't work, I would call my .Net programmer friend to help me debug it!

You can also do things like change, add, delete a registry file or value on a remote computer... shut down a running service.. shutdown a PC... monitor whether a particular service is running and if it has shutdown, email an administrator... it is very cool stuff and I wish I WERE a coder and could assimilate the "how-to" better. Maybe someday I will, but not this year for sure.

Also, I believe, today is officially the day when Bill Gates steps down from day-to-day activities at Microsoft and relinquishes control to Steve "DEVELOPERS!!" Balmer. Of course, Bill has so much stock he can still get whatever he wants, or sell all his stock and watch Microsoft tank.

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